This territory comprises all of Congressional township 82 north, range 13, west of the fifth principal meridian. It is watered by Salt Creek and it's tributaries, the main stream entering on section 5, and flowing toward the south and southeast, makes an exit on section 36. East of this stream the surface lies gently undulating, and consists of a beautiful prairie. The soil is a rich dark loam. West of Salt Creek throughout the township, the land lies quite, rolling and sometimes hilly and bluffy, and the soil is a light clay. The inhabitants are chiefly engaged in agriculture. East of Salt creek they are mostly Americans, and on the west, Bohemian. There are three towns in this township, Waltham, Elberon, and Vining.

Early Settlement.

This is the oldest settled township in the county, the first settlement being made in 1849, by William Riley Vandorin, a native of Jennings county, Indiana, who came from Henry county, Iowa. He took a squatter's claim on section 22, but the land having been entered by another party, he was forced to leave. In 1854 he entered the west half of the northeast quarter of section 14, where he lived until 1870, when he sold out and went to Kansas. He now lives in Coon Rapids, Carroll county, Iowa, where he is engaged in blacksmithing.

Mrs. Phoebe Fowler, the second settler in this township, came in 1851 and took a squatter's claim on section 23, where she lived a few years then moved to Oneida. She died in Iowa county a few years later.

William and James Vandorin and Isaac Smith were early settlers here, but the date of their settlement is not positively known. Willis entered the southwest of the northwest of section 15. In 1856 he went to Irving, where he built a hotel, which he sold a year later and returned to Henry County. James entered the southwest quarter of the southwest quarter of section 14. In 1858, he returned to Henry County. Smith took a squatter's claim but did not prove up on it. He went to California a few years later and remained a short time when he returned. In 1862, he enlisted in the army, went south, where, on account of his disability, he was discharged and returned home, where he soon after died. His oldest son now lives in Oneida.

Zachariah T. Shugart, a native of North Carolina and his son Levi H., arrived here from Michigan, on the 21st day of July, 1853, and entered land in this township. Mr. Shugart entered the southeast of the southwest quarter of section 14. The son entered the west half of the southeast quarter of section 11, and the east half of the southwest of the same section. The father lived here until the time of his death, which occurred in 1881. The son with his mother still occupy the original claim.

Zachariah T. Shugart was born in Surry county, North Carolina, November 27, 1805. He was but a small boy when his parents moved to Indiana and settled in Wayne county, where they were among first settlers. The father bought timber land and cleared a farm and also bought built a mill which he operated. Zachariah assisted his father on the farm until about eighteen years of age, when he engaged to learn the cabinet maker's trade. He was married January 4, 1827, to Miss Susana Harris, also a native of Surry county, North Carolina. They remained in Wayne county for a time, then went to Randolph county, where Mr. Shugart purchased land and after clearing a few acres, sold and moved to Grant county. He lived in several different places in Indiana until 1840, when he went to Michigan, purchasing timber land in Cass county. With the assistance of his boys he cleared a farm and made that his home until 1853, then sold and came to Iowa, settling in township 83, range 13, Benton county, now Tama county. He died January 15, 1881. His widow still lives with her son Levi. Previous to the war, Mr. Shugart was a Lloyd Garrison Abolitionist, and his house was for many years a shelter for the fugitive slaves. His parents were Quakers and Mr. Shugart was for many years an elder in that Church; but in later years he became an Universalist and died in that faith.

Levi K. Shugart came with his father in 1853 and settled on the same section. He is the oldest living settler in the township. He put up a log cabin, in which he lived for several years. Then built his present frame house. Levi was born in Wayne county, Indiana, October 22, 1827, and was thirteen years of age when his parents moved to Michigan. He there learned the trade of carpenter and joiner, at which he worked until coming to Iowa. Mr. Shugart was married February 17, 1859, to Miss Nancy Overturf, daughter of Simon and Lydia Overturf. This union was blessed with two children; Laura B. and Noah Kelita. Mrs. Shugart died September 21, 1863, and August 4, 1864 Mr. Shugart was married to Miss Catherine Ashby, of Indiana. They have six children: Lucinda E., Joseph S., Lena L., Levi D., George Z., and Jessie L. Mr. Shugart has been successful as a farmer, and now owns 300 acres of well improved land.

The same year, Dr. K. D. Shugart, a native of Indiana, came and bought two acres of land of his brother Levi's on section 14, where he lived about two years and practiced medicine. He then went to Irving, where he lived several years, then to Colorado. After his return from this point he opened a drug store at Belle Plaine, and continued in business there until 1870, when he went to California and located at Riverside, where he is now following his profession.

Hankerson Ashby, formerly from Indiana, was a settler of 1853 and claimed the east half of the northeast quarter of section 14. He sold this claim in February, 1854, and went to Michigan, and after a few years returned to this township and located at Redman, where he died in 1869.

The first land actually entered in this township was by James R. and Thomas A. graham, natives of New York, who came here from Illinois in 1853. The former selected the northeast quarter of section 25, which he improved and lived upon until the time of his death in august 1881. his widow now makes this her home.

James R. Graham was a native of New York, born May 31, 1812. When he was a young man he learned the blacksmith's trade, at which he worked in his native state until 1853, when he came to Iowa, and settled in town 83, range 13, in Tama county, purchasing land on section 25. Mr. Graham was married in 1838 to Miss Margaret pound, a native of Orange county, New York. Seven children have been born to them, five of whom are still living: Margaret A., Charles H., James H., Jada E., John W. Mr. Graham was one of the first township officers and was the first postmaster at Traer.

In 1853, Elijah Thompson, of New York State, came here from Michigan and settled on section 23. He went to Kansas in the summer of 1872 and in September of that year died in that State. He is remembered as a great hunter.

David Reynolds came in 1854 and settled on section 29, where he remained only a short time.

Thomas A. Graham entered the north half of the northeast quarter and the northeast quarter of section 36. In 1854 he moved to Toledo, where he remained until the time his death in December, 1882.

Stephen A. Wilcox, a native of New York State, came here in 1854 and bought Hankerson Ashby's claim on section 14 and entered the land in June of that year. Afterward he sold this claim and entered 140 acres on the northwest quarter of section 3. This claim he also sold in 1855 and bought the northwest quarter of section 25. Afterward he also sold this claim and in 1856 moved to Iowa Town, Benton county, where he now lives.

Jephtha Edmund's, a native of Vermont, came here from Michigan in June, 1854, and entered the southwest quarter of section 14, where he lived until 1868, when he moved to Cedar Rapids and died there in November, 1871.

Truman Prindle, a native of New York State, arrived in June, 1854, and bought land of Stephen Wilcox on sections 12 and 14. In 1881, he sold eighty acres of his farm to the C. M. & St. P. R. R. Co., for a town site. He still lives on section 14.

Truman Prindle, was born in Onondaga county, New York, November 6, 1821. When he was a young man, he went to Michigan and purchased a farm in Pokagon township, Cass county. He improved the land, built a house and in 1853, sold out; then the year following came to Iowa, locating in Tama county, on section 13 and 14, township 83, range 13, now known as York township. He lived in a log cabin for ten years, then built the frame house in which he now lives. In 1881, he sold eighty acres of his land to the C. M. & St. P. Railroad Company, for a town site, and on this land the village of Elberon was platted. Mr. Prindle was married in 1855, to Miss Emily M., daughter of Jeptha and Candis Edmund's, and widow of William Michael. Mrs. Prindle has one son living – Arling Michael.

John Newton, a native of England, came from Will county, Illinois, in 1854, and entered land on section 36. In 1882, he sold and moved to Neosha Falls, Woodson county, Nebraska.

Simon Overturf, a Pennsylvanian, came here in 1854, and entered the southeast quarter of section 25, where he still lives.

John Wilder and John Sayles, natives of New York State arrived, in 1854. Sayles bought land of T. A. Graham, where he lived about six years then sold and moved to Iowa City. He now lives in Linn county. Wilder, who was a single man, entered land in Benton county, but made his home with Sayles.

Samuel Royce, a native of York State, came in 1854, and entered the southeast quarter of section 25. The next year he sold and went to Benton county. He joined the Union Army and was killed at the battle of Pittsburgh Landing. His widow now lives at Irving.

Thomas Lewis, of York State, came in 1855, settled on the northeast quarter of section 3, remained there one year and removed to Benton county, where he died in 1877.

Lemnel Dresser, of Tioga county, New York, came in 1855, and located on section 24. He was a harness maker and carriage trimmer by trade. He made this his home until the time of his death in 1865. His widow now occupies the homestead.

George W. Selvy, from Illinois, arrived in 1855, and located on the northeast quarter of section 23. In 1861, he went to Belle Plaine. He died in Illinois in 1865.

Frank McClelland, from the same State, came also in 1855 and settled on section 23. He went to the war and upon his return settled in Keokuk.

Reuben Rogers, a native of York State, came in 1856 and bought land on section 25. He improved the land and lived there until the time of his death, which occurred February 4, 1882. One of his sons now lives on the farm, while another is engaged in the lumber trade in Elberon. Reuben Rogers was born in Oneida county, New York, June 3, 1800, and was reared in Otsego county, to which place his parents moved when he was but two years of age. Here, in 1826, he was married to Miss Chloe L., Orcutt, and in 1835, moved to Ellery township, Chautauqua county, where he bought a farm a lived until 1856, at which time he came to Iowa to seek a home. He bought a farm on section 25, York township, on which he lived until the time of his death, which occurred February 29, 1864. Of their six children, five came to Iowa : Maria, Delos, Reuben O., Amos R. and Matilda.

Amos R. Rogers, the youngest son, was born in Chautauqua county, New York, April 14, 1838, where he was reared to agricultural pursuits and received his early education in the district school. His education was completed in Iowa State university, from the Normal Department of which he graduated in 1862, being the first to graduate in that school from Tama county. In the spring of 1863, he went to Colorado, spending the summer in the Rocky Mountains, and returned home in the fall. Since then he was employed during the winter months in teaching, and in the summer seasons farming in the company with his brother, on the old homestead until 1881, when he came to Elberon and engaged in the lumber business. On October 18, 1864,he was married to Miss Helen S., daughter of Lemuel and Mary (Hendry) Dresser. They have been blessed with five children : Addie M., Delos C., Mary Bertha, Effie C., and Herman G. Mr. Rogers is a man of energy and ability, as his success both in the school room and on the farm indicates.

Reuben O., third son of Reuben and Chloe (Orcutt) Rogers, was born in Chautauqua county, New York, October 14, 1835, where his younger days were spent on a farm. His education was received in the common schools. He came to Iowa with his parents in 1856, and in 1861, was married to Miss Margaret Ashby, who bore him one child and died in 1863. The child died when he was eighteen months old. His second wife, to whom he married in 1869, was Miss Margaret, daughter of James R. and Margaret (Pound) Graham. They have been blessed with four children : James G., Maggie may, Charles R. and Matilda A. Mr. Rogers now occupies the farm which his father bought when he came to Iowa and which Mr. Rogers and brother have managed for several years. Mr. Rogers is the present Assessor of the township, having been elected to the office for a second term.

Fred Williams, formerly from Vermont, came in 1856 and settled on section 26, where he continued to live four or five years and then removed to Johnson county.

Michael Musel came in 1856 and settled on section 31, where he now lives.

Frank Matula came the same year and located on section 30 and now lives in Salt Creek.

John Budka arrived in 1856 and settled on section 30. In 1873, he went to Kansas.

John Lovenburg, a shoemaker by trade, settled on section 29 in 1856 and removed to Kansas, 1875.

Anthony Weaver and family came from Bohemia and settled in York township.

Frank, second son of Anthony and Catherine Weaver, was born in Bohemia, November 10, 1836, came to America with his parents in 1856, and settled with them in York township. In 1864 he was married to Miss Mary Caslavka. They lived with her parents for two years, then settled on the land that he previously bought on section 18. Mr. weaver now owns 120 acres of improved land and twenty acres of timber land. He has a family of seven children.

William Alexander Sr., settled in York township in 1856, on section 9. Mr. Alexander was born in Roughazie, near Glasgow, Scotland, January 7, 1808. He was reared on a farm, receiving a liberal education in the country schools. Mr. Alexander was married in 1834, to Miss Mary Clelland, who bore him six children, three of whom are now living: Agnes, George and William. In 1851 they left their native land, came to New York City, and from thence to Chicago, where Mr. Alexander was employed in the Galena car shops. Their residence in Iowa dates from 1856, at which time they settled in York township, Tama county, on section 9 where Mr. Alexander had previously entered land. Here they built a log house, 16x20 feet, in which they lived until 1865, then erected the frame house, where they now live. Mrs. Alexander died on the 2nd day of February, 1875, being sixty-eight years of age.

William Alexander Jr., was born September 26, 1845, and came with his parents to America, in 1851. While he lived in Chicago, William attended school, and, in 1856, came to York township February 23, 1875. He was married to Miss Mary A. McBride, by whom he has had four children: Mary E., John E., Elsa G. and Archibald J. William now occupies the farm with his father.

Michael Kupka also came in 1856, and settled on section 30, where he now lives.

Anthony Weaver settled on section 17, in 1856, where he died in 1875. His widow and son John now live on section 7.

Jacob Kuchara came in 1857 and settled on section 15, where he now lives.

Jacob Struble came this same season and located on the northeast quarter of section 24, where he now lives.

Vinsel Hubel came in 1857 and located on section 20. He now lives in Vining.

John Freeman came from Ohio in 1857 and located on section 26. He enlisted in the Union Army and died while in the service. His family returned to Ohio.

The same year Michael Uleh settled on section 35, and is still living there.

Another of the early settlers of York township, is James B. Van Anken, who came here in 1858. He first lived in a log house near Redman for a few weeks, and then moved to a farm which he had rented on sections 23 and 26. In 1859, he re-moved to another farm which he had rented, on section 30, and there lived until 1862. He then purchased the McKern farm, of eighty acres, on section 10, and moved there with his family. On the 24th of February, 1864, he enlisted in the 28th Iowa, Company D, went south and joined the regiment at Kennerville, near New Orleans. Here he was, taken sick and went to Washington with the Regiment, where he entered the hospital, and was soon afterward transferred to the hospital at Keokuk. In February, 1865, he was discharged from the hospital, and going south, joined his Regiment at Moorhead City, North Carolina. He served until the close of the war, being mustered out of service at Savannah in July 1865, when he returned to his home in Iowa. Mr. Van Aken is a native of York State, born in Chemung county, March 15, 1825. His younger days were spent on his father's farm, and in the pioneer schools. In 1849, he went to Bradford county, Pennsylvania, where he was employed in farming, and where he was married in 1850, to Miss Esther McDuffie, a native of that county, and born February 20, 1829. They been blessed with five children: Joseph, Josephine, Jessie, James L. and John. After his marriage, he bought a farm in Van Etten township, Chemung county, New York, and lived there until 1856, when he sold his land and came to Iowa. Mr. Van Anken first purchased a farm of eighty acres, but has kept adding to it and now owns over 200 acres. Mr. Van Anken is a thorough gentleman, and is respected as a neighbor and a citizen. He has a pleasant home and the “ latch-string” always hangs out; any stranger who stops there is always treated in the most hospitable manner.

Among others who came in later years, and now prominent citizens of the township are: Milton H. Pierce, Samuel S. Countryman and John Struve.

Milton H. Pierce was born in Broom county, New York, on the 31st of January, 1834. He was raised in that county on a farm on the banks of the Susquehanna river, and received his education in the district schools. When eighteen years of age, he engaged with a carpenter and joiner to learn the trade, serving as an apprentice for two years and then as a journeyman. In 1856, he came to Iowa, locating in Linn county, where he remained until 1858, then came to Tama county and bought land in York township, on section 3. After making this purchase, he returned to Linn county and continued to work at his trade. On the 20th of August 1862, he enlisted in Company F, 20th Iowa Volunteer Infantry, went south and was with the Regiment until the close of the war. The Regiment participated in many important engagements; among them were Prairie Grove, siege of Vicksburg, and the siege of Forts Morgan and Blakely. On his return from the war, he lived at the Belle Plaine for a short time, then went to Linn county, where he worked in a wagon shop. In 1866, he came to York township and settled on his land, where he has since resided. He has built two large cattle and hay barns, as well as comfortable sheds for his stock. Mr. Pierce has been very successful in his farming operations and now has 300 acres of improved land. Mr. Pierce was married December 26, 1867, to Miss Unity Sapp a native of Delaware. They have one child-Rowena. Mr. Pierce has been elected to offices of trust ion the township, and is, at present, Secretary of the School Board. Mr. Pierce is a genial, warm hearted gentleman and holds the respect and esteem if his neighbors.

Samuel S. Countryman was born in Somerset county, Pennsylvania, May 5, 1837. He was reared on a farm and attended the district schools of his native country. He was married September 8, 1859, to Miss Dina Walker, also a native of Somerset county. They have been blessed with twelve children, eleven of whom are living: Thomas P., Robert E., N. Frank, William J., Jacob G., George H., May E., Oscar J., Millard B., Cary C. and Nellie E. Frederick died in infancy. They lived in Somerset county until 1867, then moved to Illinois and rented land in Lee county, remaining there until 1873, when he came to Iowa and purchased land on section , of York township, of Micajah Emmons, a Quaker, who had lived there about ten years. On this land is a fine maple grove of twelve acres which was planted my Mr. Emmons. There was also a fine orchard which Mr. Countryman has replenished and enlarges. He has a large variety of fruitd and interests himself very much in horticulture. In 1882, he erected a very large frame house and now has one of the finest residences in this part of the county.

John Struve is a native Of Germany, born in Holstein, November 2, 1845. Between the years of six and fifteen he attended school, and then went to sea, visiting England, Australia, South America, China, and Japan. He followed the life of a sailor until he was twenty-one years of age, then came to America and located near Davenport, this State, where he was employed at farming for two years, then rented a farm until 1882. He then came to Tama county and purchased an improved farm of James Peck, on section 1, York township. He has a good set of buildings on his farm and is prepared to do thorough farming. Mr. Struve was married in January 1876, to Miss Sena Ellis, of Scott county, this State, and they now have four children: Henry, Meta, Alvina and John.


This township assumed its present boundaries and was organized April 7, 1856. The election was held at that time at the house of J. R. Graham, and the following officers were elected: J. H. Wilder, Assessor; James r. Graham and Elijah E. Robinson, Justices; Simon Overturf, George W. Selvey and Jeptha Edmund's, Trustees; Z. T. Shugart, Clerk; Reason Overturf and J. S. Emisan, Constables; L. H. Shugart, Road Supervisor. At the general election held at Vining, November 7, 1882, the following officers were elected: Hiram Loomis ad Albert Kuchara, Justices; Frank Benesh, Clerk; A. C. Michall and Joseph Wolf, Constables; R. O. Rogers, Assessor; J. H. Scott, Trustee.  John Skrable and Antoine Dudek are the trustees holding over.

Village Of Waltham

This place was surveyed and platted, in 1868, by Horace Jacobs, County Surveyor, for Charles Mason. It is located on the west half of the east half of section 3, the plat containing fifteen acres, G. G. Mason started the first store, in 1867. another store was started afterward by Frank Kakesh. He soon discontinued the business, but started again, and now keeps the only store in the place. The third store was opened by S. S. Dowret, about 1870, and another by Mr. Pratt, in 1879. The following named persons have been engaged in the business in this village at different times: Alonzo Cady, Emerson Lovejoy, Walter Hines, Phillips Brothers, Walter Bradbrook, Joseph Glover and William Peck.

Benjamin Thompson opened the first blacksmith shop, in 1866. After a few years he sold out. John Wells, from Illinois, was foreman in Thompson's shop. It is said, that he was to much married, and hearing that one of his wives was about to visit the village, he took a spear and went fishing at Alexander's ford, on section 10. The spear was afterward found and on the handle was written, “Good bye Benjamin, you will never see me again,” and that is the last that is known of him. J. H. Scott bought out Thompson in 1870, he then formed a partnership with a man by the name of Kerr, and they built a wagon shop, 20x40 feet, two stories high, where they continued in business a few years. This building has since been converted into a dwelling. The blacksmithing business is now represented by Joseph Van Anken.

A post office was established in what is now the village of Waltham, in 1865. Henry L. Smith was the first postmaster, and kept the office in his house, on section 3. The following named have served as postmasters, since that time: George G. Mason, A. W. Davies, A. B. Cady, Walter Hines, G. Brown, Joseph Glover and Frank Kokesh, the present incumbent, who has the office in his store. Mail is received three times a week, from Elberon; formerly it was received from Belle Plaine, twice a week.

Henry L. Smith, the first postmaster at Waltham, and an early settler of the township, was born in Orange county, New York, October 3, 1815. When he was nine years of age, his parents moved to New York city, where Henry received his education. When he reached the age of eighteen, he engaged with a carpenter to learn the trade. He served three years as an apprentice, and then he and his brother formed a partnership as contractors and builders. Henry was married October 16, 1837, to Miss Jane Lounsbury, who was a native of Geneseo county, New York city. In 1856, Mr. Smith came to Iowa and settled in Irving, where he found employment as carpenter and mill wright for five years, then came to York township and settled on section 3, where he purchased an interest in a grist mill. He made this his home until the time of his death, which occurred May 8, 1877. Mr. And Mrs. Smith had a family of four children: Daniel O., Joseph H., Mary C. and S. Elizabeth. Daniel O. was born in New York, August 2, 1838; died at Irving, August 6, 1861.

Alfred W. Davies, who was postmaster here for some time, was born in Hereford county, England, November 4, 1832, and when quite young was apprenticed to learn the miller's trade. He served an apprenticeship of three years, when worked in the different flouring mills in Worcester and Stafford counties until the breaking out of the war with Russia, in 1853, when he enlisted in the Royal Lancers, joined the Regiment at Bristol and went to Russia, serving until the close of the war. He was in the famous battle of Balaklava, and was one of the Light Brigade, immortalized by Tennyson in his poem:

“Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the Valley of death
Rode the six hundred.
“Forward the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns!” he said,
Into the valley of death,
Rode the six hundred.

* * * * * *

When can their glory fade?
Oh, the wild charge they made!
All the world wondered.
Honor the charge they made!
Honor the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred.”

Mr. Davies was also in the battle of Inkaman and other minor engagements. At the close of the war, he returned to England and resumed work at his trade. In 1857, he came to America, arriving at New York city in the 17th day of April, and went from there to Wayne county, where he was engaged at farming for a while, after which he was employed in a saw mill. On the breaking out of the War of the rebellion, he enlisted in Company F, 8th Regiment, New York Volunteer Cavalry, and went to Washington. In 1862, the regiment was ordered to the Shenandoah valley. Mr. Davies participated in the battles of Winchester, Antietam, Fredricksburg, Beverly Ford, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg and Culpepper Court House. In the latter engagement, August 1, 1863, while charging a rebel battery, he was wounded in th left arm near the shoulder. Amputation was performed on the battle field, and he was sent to Douglass Hospital, at Washington, D.C. He was honorably discharged October 14, 1863, and returned to Wayne county, New York. In July, 1865, he started with a horse and wagon for Iowa, and from Michigan he helped to drive 2,500 sheep to Tama county. In 1866, he went to Michigan and returned to this county with 1,500 sheep. He then engaged in herding cattle, and in 1867, bought the mail route between Belle Plaine and Waltham. In 1869, he was appointed postmaster at Waltham, and served one year. In 1870, he returned to New York and was there married to Miss Elizabeth J. Corlett. They returned to Waltham, purchased a residence and now make that their home. They have three children: Benjamin R., Alice J. and Hiram H.

Since the railroad came through the township, other towns have started and Waltham is not in a very flourishing condition. In fact it is almost defunct, the trade being transferred to other towns. After its commencement, for some time it was considered that it would make a place of some importance, but its projectors seem doomed to disappointment, and other places seem destined to make the important towns of the township.

Village of Elberon.

This place was surveyed at the instance of the Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway Company, in September, 1881. It is located on the northeast

quarter of the northeast quarter of section 14 and the northwest quarter of the northwest quarter of section 13. The first building was a temporary shanty put up by N. L., Brown for a boarding house. The first permanent building in the village was erected by Amos Rogers for a lumber office. The first tore building completed by N. L. Brown; located on the southeast corner of Main and first Streets.

The first store, doing business here, was in a building moved from Waltham where J. Glover & Co. opened a drug and grocery store, and yet remain in the trade.

William C. Gotthold opened the first dry goods store in December 1881, and is still in business, having a general stock of goods. William C. Gotthold was born in Canton, Ohio, February 11, 1861, and when he was eighteen months old, his mother came to Iowa to join her parents who resided on a farm near Chelsea. His father was in the army at the time and died on his way home. William attended the district school, and also the high school in Irving, and completed his education at the Business College at Canton, Ohio. After completing his education, he engaged as clerk in a store in Chelsea, this county, and in December, 1881, came to Elberon and opened the business in which he is now engaged. He does a good business in the dry goods line.

John Skrable started the first hardware store, in 1882, and remains in the business. He is a son of Joseph and Magdalina Skrable, and was born in Bohemia, November 10, 1845. He attended the common schools until ten years of age, then went to college for two years. At this time his parents came to America and located for two years at Iowa City, then came to Tama county and settled in York township, in 1857. When John was fifteen years old he went to Belle Plaine and was hired as a clerk in a hardware and dry goods store for eight years. Then, on account of his health, he returned to York township and engaged in farming, on section 24. He remained on the farm until1881, at which time he located in Elberon, erected a building and opened a hardware store. Mr. Skrable was married in 1868 to Miss Barbara Kvidera, who was borne him seven children: Mary, Fannie, Abbie, James, Emil, Joseph and Frank. Mr. Skrable has taken a lively interest in affairs of local importance, he held the offices of Constable and Assessor, and has been in some office every year for the past fifteen years. Mr. Skrable is educated in both Bohemian and English.

The post office at Elberon was established in January, 1882, and N. S. Brown was appointed postmaster, with the office in his store. This was a special office at that time, and the mail was received from belle Plaine twice each week. The mail service was established on the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul railroad on the 10th of April, and mail is now regularly received daily. This town was first called Halifax, and was afterward changed to Elberon in honor of the place so intimately connected with the death of President Garfield. The railroad was completed to this point in October, 1881, and there seems to be prospect for a town here of some importance in the future.
Charles Skrable engaged in the grain trade at Elberon in 1881, and in 1882 built an elevator with a capacity of 10,000 bushels. Mr. Skrable still continues his business, doing a large trade. He is the youngest son of Josephine and Magdaline Skrable, born October 5, 1835. He came to America with his parents and was reared on his father's farm in York township, receiving his education in the district school. His marriage with Miss Mary Uleh, took place February 4, 1876. Mr. Skrable was employed at farming until 1881, when he moved to Elberon, built a warehouse and engaged in the grain trade. In 1882, as mentioned above, he erected one of the best elevators in the county and is now doing a large business. Mr. And Mrs. Skrable have one child-Anthony J., born July 4, 1880.

The medical profession was first represented here by Dr. E. E. Holroyd, who came in January, 1882. He moved to Chicago, and is now a professor in a Medical College. The profession is now represented by Dr. Frank S. Smith. See Medical Chapter.

The first livery stable was opened in the spring of 1882, by A. C. Michall. In March, 1883, however, he rented his stable and went to Missouri.

In November, 1881, by the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad Company, and is located on the west half of the northeast quarter of section 20. During the same fall the first building was erected by John Kotas, in which he opened a dry goods and grocery store, early in the winter.

Albert Uleh completed the second building, in which he opened a grocery store in January, 1882.

Frank Benesh put up a building during the winter, and opened a hardware store the following spring, and still continues his business. Mr. Benesh was born in Bohemia, in 1844. He received a liberal education, in the schools of his native country, and, in 1859, came to America with his parents, who settled in York township, of this county. In 1865, Mr. Benesh was united in marriage with Miss Barbara Bistricky, and settled in a farm, where he followed farming until 1872, at which time he moved to Belle Plaine and engaged as clerk in the hardware store of C. W. Gore. In 1882, he formed a partnership with Mr. Gore and opened a hardware store in Vining. Mr. Benesh is one of the leading citizens of the town and is at present township Clerk, elected in November, 1882. He converses and reads in both Bohemian and English. Mr. And Mrs. Benesh have eleven children: Frank J., Charley, William, Emil, Theodor, Joseph, George, Mary Anna, Blanche, Emilie and Berta.

Frank Simon and his son Joseph came to Vining in 1882, and engaged in the general merchandise business, which they still continue. Mr. Simon was born in Bohemia, in 1832. In 1852, he was married to miss Kate Krejsa, who bore him two children: Kate and Joseph. In 1869, they came to America and located at Racine, Wisconsin, where Mr. Simon worked at the tailoring business. He remained there but a few months, then came to Tama county and worked on the railroad at Montour for six months. He next went to Chicago, worked two years at his trade then returned to this county, and after working at at tailoring for a few months opened a general merchandise store, continuing in that business until 1882. He then came to Vining, and in company with his son engaged in his present business. His son Joseph, postmaster at Vining, was born on the 22nd day of February, 1858, and came to America with his parents, with whom he made his home until 1873. He then engaged as clerk for James Brice, for whom he worked until his father opened his store in Chelsea. He then went to work for his father and in 1882, father and son formed a partnership to carry on a mercantile business at Vining. Joseph was married, April 7, 1879, to Miss Sofie Macek. Joseph is a young man, full of energy and pluck, and bids fair to be one of the leading businessmen in the township.

Joseph Michal opened the first saloon, in the fall of 1881, in a building moved here from Vining.

Albert Kuchara opened the first harness shop, in the spring of 1882. The same spring Frank Musle started in the lumber trade in company with J. W. Shaler, Musle now continues the business alone.

The post office here was established in the spring of 1882 and Joseph Simon appointed postmaster. He kept the same at his store. The first mail arrived the first day of May.

A warehouse was erected in the fall of 1881 by Joseph Ineck, and he is yet engaged here in the grain trade. This young town consists mostly of Bohemians and is in a prosperous condition.

Post Offices.

Dryden post office was established in Oneida township, in 1868, with Miss Nettie Kenner postmistress, and the office was kept at her home, on section 36. It was moved to York in 1872, when B. A. Peck was commissioned and the office was in his house, on section 1. It was moved from there to Benton county a few years late, and was discontinued in 1881. It was on the route between Belle Plaine and Dysart.

Fox Point post office was established in August, 1879, and Miss Laura Fox appointed postmistress. It was kept at her house, on section 23, and was discontinued when an office was established at Elberon, in 1882. It was also on the route from Belle Plaine to Dysart.

Alvin Clark built a saw mill on Salt Creek in 1855. But little lumber was sawed, when it was converted into a grist mill, with one run of stone. Mr. Clark sold out to Simon Dyke man, in 1857. Dyke man sold a one-half interest to S. A. Lewis. The mill is now owned and run by S. A. And Charles Lewis. They do custom work and manufacture first-class flour. Jacob Yount commenced building a flour mill on Salt creek, on section 22, in 1873, but before completion sold and interest in it to his two sons, David and Daniel, with R. O. Rogers, A. Pryne and Hottel. In 1874, William white bought an interest and the mill was completed that year. In 1876, Adam and Benjamin Bruner purchased the mill. In 1879 Benjamin Bruner sold his one-half interest to John Beal, and they sold a third to Samuel Barrett. It now has three run of the burbs and all the necessary machinery for the manufacturing of first-class flour. It is operated at present by Bruner & Barrett, both of whom are first-class millers, and are obliged to run the mill to its fullest capacity night and day to meet the demand. The success of this mill fates from the time that the Bruner brothers bought it.

Adam Bruner, senior partner of the above named firm, is the fifth son of Christian and Sophia Bruner, born in Sandusky county, Ohio, June 8, 1842. His parents came to Iowa when he was but ten years of age. He made his home under the parental roof until in January, 1856, when he was married to Miss Annie M. Fromm and settled in Howard township, where he engaged in farming until 1876. At this time he and his brother Benjamin came to York township and purchased the flour mill with which he is now connected. Mr. And Mrs. Bruner have been blessed with five children: Albert C., Norman C., Agnes T., Clara M. and Howard E. Mr. Bruner is a first-class miller, a man of enterprise and enjoys the trust and respect of his neighbors.

Samuel Barrett, of the above named firm of Bruner & Barrett, was born in Somerset county, Pennsylvania, March 4, 1834. His parents moved to Knox county, Ohio, in 1836. Samuel remained at home until sixteen years of age, when he ran away. He was fortunate in finding work in Clark county, Pennsylvania, in a saw mill. After two years he returned to Ohio, and in 1852, he came to Marietta, the county seat of Marshall county, Iowa. Here he engaged with John Hill in building a flouring mill. Afterwards he ran the same mill for thirteen years, giving entire satisfaction to all his customers.

After this he moved to Nebraska and bought a farm of eighty aces and farmed one year, then sold and returned to Iowa and again engaged in milling in Coon Valley, Greene county, for six years, and later in Cass and Guthrie counties. In 1875, he bought the flouring mill at Irving, and lived there until 1882. At the present time he is interested in Bruner's mill, having bought an interest in it in 1882.

Historical Items.

Anthony Weaver was frozen to death, December 23, 1856, while on his way home from the mill at Irving. His body was found two weeks later by a deer hunter. His brother was in company with him and went for help to a house about one mile distant. Having secured assistance, they started back, but could not find him in the blinding storm which was raging. This brother, whose name was John, had his feet badly frozen and is now living in the township.

The first marriage occurred April 16, 1854, and celebrated the nuptials of Jacob Bruner and Susan Ashby. The marriage was performed by Judge John C. Vermilya.

The second death was that of Mrs. Jeptha Edmund's, which occurred on the 6th of March, 1856.

The first reaping machine was introduced into this township, in the summer of 1859, by J. B. Van Anken and L. N. Dresser. It was sent here by L. B. Dodd, and was manufactured at Mendota, Illinois.

The first school was kept in L. H. Shugarts house on section 14, in 1854, and was taught by Miss Simpson.

The next school was taught by Miss Libbie Graham in a log house on section 25, in 1855.

The first school house was erected at Redman in the fall in 1856, and the first school in this house was taught by Sarah Simpson.
One of the early marriages was that of Joel s. Edmund's to Miss Melinda Shugart, February 17, 1856, at the house of the bride's parents. They settled on section 14, where she died the 22nd day of April, 1859. He enlisted in the army and died while in the service.
The first religious service in the township was held in L. H. Shugarts log cabin, in 1855, Elder Wilkins, a Baptist preacher. He preached in this same place for some time.

Elder Dwight was another Baptist preacher of an early day.

A child belonging to Jacob Kuchara was lost during the summer of 1860. It was but two years old and wandered away from the house. The neighborhood was aroused and search began, which grew more and more exciting as the days passed by and no trace was found. It was thought it might have been taken by the wolves, and hole after hole was dug and searched. At length its body was found in Troublesome creek.

William Riley Vandorn, the first settler as before stated, squatted on Salt Creek bottom. He was not familiar with the country and built his cabin on low ground, and when the rains came, the creek rose, overflowed its banks, and the little cabin was surrounded with water. He took his family in a dug-out which had been made for a feed trough, and thus transferred them to high ground.

The streams of this section rise rapidly after heavy rains. On one occasion an Indian Chief, Bearskin, was camping on the bottoms with his family, when a sudden rise compelled him to seek safety by swimming to the bluffs. His family climbed trees, where they were obliged to remain until taken away in boats.


A Methodist Episcopal Class was organized at the school house in Waltham, in 1874, by M.A. Goodell. Dr. W. C. Beam was the class leader, and the following named succeeded the pastor: Haywood Barnes, Dolph Hoskins and Mr. Littler. Preaching was discontinued in the fall of 1882.

A Catholic Church was built on section 21, in 1875, and is the only church building now in the township.

A United Brethren Society was organized in Oneida township, and moved to Waltham in 1864. Rev. O. B. Crawford was the preacher at the time and meetings were held in the school house. G. G. Mason was appointed class leader.

A. Sabbath school was organized that spring, with G. G. Mason as Superintendent and Aaron Mason, Secretary. Rev. John Ollaman succeeded Crawford in the ministry here, followed by the following named: J. H. Vandeveer, H. B. Potter, Hyte Rodgers, L. B. Hicks, John Smith, George W. Benson and H. W. Rebok, the present pastor. Meetings are held at the school house in Waltham. Charles Mason is the present class leader.


The school interests received attention in this township at an early day. In 1856, a school house was built at Redman, and Sarah Simpson taught the first school in this building. From that time to the present, the schools have kept pace with the settlements, and houses have been built and school maintained in all locality's where there was a settlement, until now, within the limits of the township, there are nine organized districts, all with one exception, having good school buildings, well furnished. The population has increased here, until in some districts the houses are not sufficiently large to accommodate, comfortably, the children, but as a rule educational facilities are abundantly furnished to every district in the township, and immediate steps will doubtless be taken to secure additional buildings where needed.

Tama Co. Home Page

Table of Contents

Biography List

Portrait List


Chapter XLI